Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

AI Piece Re-Appears

Thanks to David Golumbia who has shepherded my essay Artificial Intelligence As Alien Intelligence into publication over at boundary 2.

1 comment:

jimf said...

> It is scarcely surprising that. . . [SF] would provide endless
> variations on the conceits of either the construction of
> artificial intelligences or contact with alien intelligences.

Speaking of aliens and AIs, I wonder if you've ever come across
an SF novel from the early 80s titled _An XT Called Stanley_
by Robert Trebor (the author's name is the pseudonym of an as-yet-unidentified
American, according to ).
It combines both tropes into one very decent story.

A summary of _Stanley_ at Google Books (on p. 189 of a volume of
_Future and Fantastic Worlds: A Bibliographical Retrospective of
DAW Books_) gives:

"In orbit at the New Hope satellite, men finally made
contact with a civilization in the stars. It came in the form of
a complex signal which enabled the building of a supercomputer
to embody it. Top secret, they called the entity Stanley and allowed
it to project a humanoid image to speak for it.

But that XT, that Extra-Terrestrial intelligence, played a cagey game
with its interpreters. Possessed of a data bank containing the
whole knowledge of an alien super-science, it refused to divulge
anything until its own questions about humanity were answered.
The battle of wits at New Hope: Stanley versus humanity, scientists
versus politicians, and, possibly, planet versus planet, became
a growing crisis that could either open up the stars or else
put an end to Earth's fondest dreams."

The summary sounds somewhat gritty, but I recall the book as being
rather sweet, even moving. It would've made a good movie, too.